One killed as train carrying Republican Congress members crashes into truck

At least one person has died after a train carrying Republican members of the US Congress crashed into a bin lorry at a railroad crossing in rural Virginia.

No members of Congress or their staff were seriously injured in the collision, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, but one person travelling in the truck was killed and another seriously injured. Investigations are underway into the cause of the accident.

Amtrak said two crew members and three train passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries after the crash in Crozet, Virginia. Senator Bill Cassidy, a doctor, said he and others who are doctors tended to the injured until emergency personnel arrived.

The legislators were en route to a three-day conference in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, to discuss politics and policies for the upcoming year before the crash occurred at 11.20 local time [16:20 GMT]. Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were expected to make an appearance.

“We were going along the Virginia countryside at pretty good speed,” Senator Jeff Flake said in comments released by his office. “All of a sudden, we felt an impact and obviously heard a pretty loud noise. Most of us were thrown a bit in our seats and those of us who were standing were really thrown.”

The legislators chartered buses to bring them the remainder of the distance to their destination. Mr Pence tweeted that he would be heading to West Virginia later on Wednesday, as previously planned.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was onboard the train but not injured. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was not onboard.

Mr Trump was in a national security meeting at the time of the crash, Ms Sanders said. The President later told reporters that he had spoken with Mr Ryan about the incident and that his thoughts were with those affected.

“It was a pretty rough hit,” Mr Trump said of the crash.

Pictures from the scene showed the truck knocked on its side, rubbish spilling out on the ground around it. The front of the Amtrak train also appeared dented and scratched.

Some legislators on the train reported injuries such as whiplash and possible mild concussion. 

“There was a feeling of an impact and you could feel we had hit something,” Senator Mike Lee told the Washington Post of the crash. ”It took us maybe a quarter mile to stop.”

He added: “We saw debris go by the left side of the train. The part of the truck we can see was decimated. Very relieved when the train came to a stop and still on the tracks.”

Among those lending a hand to emergency responders was Representative Brad Wenstrup, who treated some of the victims at a GOP baseball practice last June where several people were shot, including Representative Steve Scalise.

“We jumped off the train and went to work,” Representative Neal Dunn told ABC News. “Every member of the ‘Doc Caucus’ got out of the train and helped the guys who’d been injured.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation said there were flashing signals and gates on the intersection where the crash occurred, to stop drivers from entering the tracks when a train was approaching. There have been three reported crashes near the intersection since 2007, but none involving a train.

Local law enforcement was investigating the incident and crews were inspecting the train’s equipment for damage, Amtrak said in a statement. The United States Capitol Police were also on the scene, and the National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to investigate .

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Alan Pardew says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola tackling remarks meant crowd put pressure on referee

Alan Pardew suggested that Pep Guardiola’s comments about reckless tackling affected the Etihad crowd after his West Bromwich Albion side fell to an ill-tempered 3-0 defeat against Manchester City.

Pardew’s side made several forceful challenges on City’s player, the worst coming deep into the second half when Matt Phillips went in high and late on substitute Brahim Diaz.

Phillips only received a yellow card for the tackle, as did James McClean when he dangerously attempted to bring down Kevin De Bruyne in the build-up to City’s second goal.

City were not blameless themselves, however, with Fernandinho escaping punishment for a clumsy challenge of Grzegorz Krychowiak, who was forced off the pitch through injury shortly after.

Referee Bobby Madley chose not use his red card on any one of the occasions, despite them coming days after the debate provoked by Joe Bennett’s strong challenge on Leroy Sané, which left the City winger sidelined for seven weeks with ankle ligament damage.

Pardew admitted Phillips’ tackle on Diaz was “a poor challenge” but believed Madley was right to only show a yellow card.

The West Bromwich manager added that Guardiola’s calls for players to be shown more protection had affected the Etihad crowd and increased pressure on Madley.

“He’s a winger and in desperate situations wingers can make poor challenges,” Pardew said in defence of Phillips. “It was a poor challenge, make no mistake about that. I think Fernandinho made a similar one in the middle of the pitch. I’m not sure if the referee saw it.

“I thought Pep’s comments at the weekend affected the crowd. Every challenge they were saying you’re not protecting our players, referee. 

“There were a few songs sung about him but I actually thought he had a decent game. His calls were correct and it was a yellow card for Phillips, no doubt.”

Pardew did not go as far as to label Fernandinho’s foul on Krychiowiak as a ‘stamp’, claiming he would need to see the challenge again.

“Gregorz struggled after that but I haven’t seen it. He didn’t think it was particularly great.”

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Mauricio Pochettino claims Tottenham's rapid opener against Manchester United was down to 'belief'

Mauricio Pochettino says that Christian Eriksen’s instant goal against Manchester United was not from a specific plan to catch Jose Mourinho’s side out, but instead merely the result of “belief” and should be shown to every academy player.

The Danish playmaker scored after just 10.5 seconds, for the third fastest goal in Premier League history, to set up a fine 2-0 win for Spurs. Pochettino admitted that the instant goal was a “surprise”.

“We prepare to play in opposite half from the beginning,” Pochettino said. “We try to be aggressive. If you can score, score. but it’s so difficult. We prepare to play in the opposite half, we want to play in opposite half, dominate the game, put pressure on them. You work, I’m happy it happened after 10 seconds but that is football.

“The action that is so important is to see Christian Eriksen – the belief. The run is fantastic. There’s no waiting – to decide, anticipate, read the action is so important. That is one to show the academy players on video.”

Pochettino also generally praised the display of his playmaker.

“Yes, it was a great performance from Christian. So important for us, not only today when he was great and scored. He’s a player that links everyone. When he’s not, he’s a player we miss.”

The only frustration for Spurs was that they didn’t win by more, given they had the chances to do so, and it is maybe why Pochettino wouldn’t be drawn about whether this was their best display at Wembley given they beat Real Madrid here 3-1 and Liverpool 4-1.

“I don’t know if it was the best, i think the performance was fantastic, great, so pleased with that. Congratulate our players – they deserve full credit. Of course, so happy. Be sure it’s one of the best at Wembley, I don’t know if the best.

”I think we played plenty of good games. Not only Real Madrid, but Liverpool and today. A lot of good performances were here. Of course, today was against Man United, a great team, to dominate to play and deserve the result in the end, not conceding a goal, clean sheet, against a team like Man United, the team deserves a lot of praise.

“The most important thing now is to keep going, be consistent. It will not be easy to keep this type of performance, we play every three-four days, and we’re going to need the whole squad. Now we rest, assess players, take best decisions against Liverpool. for me, one of the best teams in England – we need all in a very good mental and physical condition. Be sure we’re going to use the squad, maybe rotate, maybe not, but we’re going to use the squad.”

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Future technology 'cannot rescue' mankind from climate change, say experts

Technology will not “come to the rescue” and reverse greenhouse gas emissions, experts have warned.

In a new report, a group of prominent European scientists has emphasised the importance of focusing on reducing emissions in order to meet global warming targets.

Technologies that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere have been singled out as a major component in the struggle to keep the global temperature rise below the 2C decided in the Paris climate agreement.

However, the new report has highlighted the shortcomings of these technologies, describing expectations placed on them as “seriously over-optimistic”.

“We cannot trust technology to come to the rescue,” said Professor Michael Norton, co-author of the study and environment programme director at the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC).

“However the models do suggests that every tool in our toolbox may be necessary in the second half of the 21st century to tackle climate change, and so we still think it is worth considering research into negative emissions technologies.”

Negative emissions technologies include directly sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, and collecting it as it is released from fuel combustion.

Carbon captured in this way could potentially be stored underground to prevent it re-entering the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, and technologies that allow this to be done efficiently are being developed.

Another, less high-tech method is simply planting more trees to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has given these methods a dominant role in future plans to reduce global warming, suggesting they could make up for greenhouse gas levels breaching the allowable limits.

A draft IPCC report leaked earlier this year said keeping warming below the 1.5C rise above pre-industrial times would “involve removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere”.

Without these measures, the report suggested, there is a “very high risk” this ambitious target will be breached by the 2040s.

While the authors of the new report acknowledged a potential role for negative emissions technologies, they emphasised that such technologies should not be elevated at the expense of efforts to minimise emissions.

“Scenarios and projections that suggest that negative emissions technologies future contribution to carbon dioxide removal will allow Paris targets to be met appear optimistic on the basis of current knowledge, and should not form the basis of developing, analysing and comparing scenarios of longer-term energy pathways for the EU,” stated the representatives from European science academies who authored the report.

“Relying on negative emissions technologies to compensate for failures to adequately mitigate emissions may have serious implications for future generations.”

Dr Phillip Williamson, a UK Natural Environment Research Council scientist who was not involved in the report, described it as “scientifically sound and politically important”.

“Their main conclusion is that while some of the technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere may have a role to play in reducing climate change, all have drawbacks that mean it will be difficult to use them at the very large scale that would be necessary to make a real difference,” said Professor Andrew Watson, an earth system scientists at the University of Exeter.

“So our main focus and best hope for avoiding the worst effects of climate change still needs to be reducing our emissions.”

Other researchers acknowledged the importance of the reality check provided by the report, but noted the continued importance of research into negative emissions technologies. 

“Negative emission technologies only make sense in a world in which emissions are nose diving towards zero, so the EASAC’s call for a commitment to strong and rapid mitigation is reasonable,” said Dr Phil Renforth, a climate expert at Cardiff University.

“However, waiting until emissions reach zero before researching negative emissions is a dangerous gamble, one that may commit us to excess atmospheric carbon dioxide without scalable methods to remove it.”

Professor Myles Allen, a geosystem scientist at the University of Oxford, said describing the “limited realistic potential” of carbon removal was short-sighted, and allowed people to “cling to the comfort-blanket of more conventional mitigation options”.

“The report also ignores recent innovative policy ideas that might make large-scale carbon dioxide disposal a reality,” he said.

“There is only one institution in the world with the capital, expertise and resources to dispose of carbon dioxide on the necessary scale, and that is the fossil fuel industry. We have to work out how to give it the incentive to do so.”

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Carrie Gracie: BBC can't be trusted to report honestly over gender pay gap

The BBC’s journalism cannot be trusted unless it is truthful about its gender pay gap, the corporation’s former China editor Carrie Gracie has said.

Ms Gracie resigned from her post earlier this month over what she claimed was a “secretive and illegal pay culture” at the BBC that discriminated against women.

The corporation was forced to reveal the salaries of its highest-earning talent last year, exposing a 9 per cent gender pay gap, although an independent pay audit of staff at the organisation found no “systemic discrimination against women”.

The BBC’s former China editor on Wednesday delivered impassioned evidence on the issue of pay disparity to the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

“We’re not in the business of producing toothpaste or tyres at the BBC — our business is truth,” she said.

“We can’t operate without the truth. If we’re not prepared to look at ourselves honestly, how can we be trusted to look at anything else in our reporting honestly?”

BBC bosses told her she was paid less than her male counterparts because she was “in development”, the journalist said.

“It is an insult to add to the original injury. It is unacceptable to talk to your senior women like that,” she said.

Ms Gracie was already experienced at reporting on Chinese affairs, was fluent in Mandarin and had a Chinese degree she was appointed BBC News’ first editor for China in 2013.

“I knew I would do that job at least as well as other man,” she said

“And there was no man. Frankly there was no other candidate for the job at the time.”

Since filing her grievance complaint, the BBC has offered to pay her around £100,000 in back pay, saying it had “inadvertently” underpaid her since 2014.

But she said: “I don’t want that money — that’s not what its about for me.

“They’re still not giving me equality, they’re still not giving me parity.

“If they showed me robust data and robust benchmarks on why they want to pay the men more than me … that would be ok, but they have’t given me that, even now. An apology would be nice.”

Ms Gracie appeared close to tears at a number of points during the evidence session, including when talking about the stress caused by the BBC’s complaints process.

She said she faced delays and obfuscation and her work was “belittled” .

“That is what has to happen if they are not going to concede, they are going to have to crush your self-esteem about your work, so that is very painful. I found all of that really hard,” she said.

“I feel very angry about what [BBC managers] have put some other people through, I feel angry about some of the things I’ve seen and heard [from] some of the women and the suffering they have gone through.

“It’s not funny. All of these women have been underpaid, for years, some decades.”

She earlier spoke of what she said was a “toxic work atmosphere” and warned BBC management saying: “It is going to get worse, we have women leaving, the credibility of management is diminished and damaged and they will lose in employment tribunals.

“They are stumbling towards a Greek tragedy where they make happen their own worst fears. They need to stop now, pull up and trust their staff.”

As Ms Gracie spoke, former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman tweeted: ”Heartfelt, compelling words from BBCCarrie at CommonsCMS select committee. Thank you Carrie for speaking so clearly about pay injustice. Will spur change not just BBC but for all women at work.” 

The BBC’s director General Lord Hall said: “I take great heart that 298 (people) have come forward, mostly women but not entirely women. We’ve resolved 117 of those and they are mainly women’s cases we’ve resolved.”

When challenged on a comment that the system is “working”, Lord Hall added: “I am not saying all is well, what I am saying is that what we have been doing is managing cases and telling people to come forward. Roughly 1 per cent of the population of the BBC are pursuing those cases and we’re dealing with them.”

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